There. Energy crisis solved. All we need to do are three things:
1. Drill. Here, and up north. And get that crude across the country, to the Gulf, by building the Keystone XL pipeline.
2. Build new nuke plants. Like they have in France.
3. Start bombarding hydrogen pellets with laser beams. I'm serious. From the (UK) Daily Mail:
Britain has joined forces with America to investigate a hi-tech new way of producing 'clean energy' - not from wind or waves, but from firing huge arrays of high-powered lasers at pellets of hydrogen.
The process causes the hydrogen atoms to fuse together into helium - the same reaction found in hydrogen bombs and stars such as our Sun - but in a controlled reaction that could power homes and businesses.
Recent experiments at America's National Ignition Facility (NIF), have produced huge bursts of energy from the technology - using a stadium-sized building housing an array of 192 lasers which fire a 500-terawatt flash at a drop of hydrogen atoms just 1mm across.
Here's what it looks like, or is supposed to look like:
Even more cool:
Laser fusion was expected to take longer to achieve than magnetic containment fusion, but recent results from NIF have hinted that the break-even point in laser fusion might happen earlier than was thought possible. A similar project in the UK, called HIPER, the High Power Laser Energy Research began work in 2005.
'NIF director Ed Moses said, 'Our goal is to have ignition within the next couple of years.'
Ignition would be a self-sustaining reaction that would release vast amounts of energy far surpassing the 'break even' point.
Last week, a single shot of NIF's laser released, for a tiny fraction of a second, more power than was being consumed in the entire world.
To hit the point of 'ignition', that energy release needs to rise by a factor of around 1,000. The technology challenges are considerable.
And even better:
John Parris, of Europe's HiPER project, said 'This is save-the-world science. Fusion is the only serious answer to future energy demands - this is the energy Holy Grail. The human race has a massive, ravenous demand for power. Fusion will be an ideal solution in the clean energy mix for the future.'
NIF, however, is working already. The facility uses pellets of the hydrogen isotopes deuterium - found in 'heavy water' - and tritium, and fires lasers to compress the pellets to a few hundredths of its starting size.
And of course, you guessed it:
Environmental groups such as Greenpeace claim that research into fusion diverts funding from research into proven technologies such as wind and wave power.
Bombard hydrogen with lasers! That's our (slightly clumsy) rallying cry!
It will be technology that makes life better and cheaper to power. Always has been, always will be.